I am so happy with these grain free banana cake muffins- I have made them again and again (actually they are on snack rotation for the kids), and dusted things so that they are just right- moist, flavoursome but not too sweet, airy and spongy, perfect with or without frosting. Evolved from my wholesome banana cake recipe, they are the rain (and gluten free) alternative that has quickly become my preference.
Lets take a look at the ingredients for these grain free banana cake muffins
- The flour is made up of 2 ingredients- blanched almond meal or flour and buckwheat flour. I tried a few different variations, but I settled on this combination as it yielded the best results. Both ingredients are widely accessible (available at most supermarkets) and together they create a muffin the is both airy and moist. I would not recommend substituting either flour.
- Baking powder– I have made this recipe with both baking powder and baking soda and both are a success. You really can use either. Baking powder is an important ingredient here as the recipe is egg free and is thus essential for helping the muffins rise.
- Salt– of course. Make sure it’s a f finely ground salt.
- Brown sugar– the recipe uses only between 1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar for a yield of 12 muffin, which keeps the sugar levels fairly low. You can substitute for coconut sugar, however the final result isn’t quite as good (the muffins are a little less moist and sweet). I would not recommend substituting for a liquid sweetener.
- Mashed banana. Choosing ripe bananas is very important here. You want spotty brown skinned bananas that are still semi firm. Bananas with a yellow skin will be too firm (and offer little in terms of flavour), while bananas that have become over ripe (completely mushy and with a black skin) will add too much moisture. Choose bananas that are spotty all over and smell sweet for best results.
- Hulled tahini. Tahini is a paste made form sesame seeds and comes in 3 varieties- hulled, unhulled and black. We want the hulled variety here, as it has the most subtle flavour. Choosing good quality tahini is important- is should be uniform (no oil sitting on top) and pourable. Thick, chunky tahini will not be ideal for this recipe- nor will old tahini as it is often rancid and will spoil the flavour. You can find hulled tahini at most supermarkets, middle eater grocers and health food shops.
- Apple cider vinegar– alongside the baking powder vinegar is an important factor in making the muffins rise and be light and airy. Do not omit, though you can substitute for white vinegar.
- Boxed coconut milk. I like to use a good quality coconut milk that has only 2 ingredients at most- pure coconut milk and water. If you don’t want to use coconut milk, swap for your preferred milk.
- Ground cinnamon. Yum.
Baking the grain free banana cake muffins
One thing that is not discussed enough is WHAT we are baking in. For the best results I highly recommend a METAL muffin tray. I have tried baking these muffins in various muffin trays and without a doubt aluminium does the best job. Why? Aluminium is the best heat conductor, eroding even heat through the whole process. I prefer to line my tray with compostable patty pans, so that I am creating a barrier between the metal and my food.
If you only have a silicone tray? Not an issue. I have baked these in silicone too, and they totally work- just less consistently. Silicone bakeware might create a more dense, yet equally delicious, muffin. Just FYI.
How to nail this recipe
Perhaps the biggest cause of a recipe fail comes down to incorrectly measuring ingredients. It is hardly a surprise given that a standard cup size is different if you’re in the UK, US or Australia, measuring spoon volumes also change given your location- and Europe bakes without measuring cups at all. Further- HOW you fill a measuring spoon and cup is very important, and often done incorrectly. Here a few tips to help you nail this recipe:
- INVEST in kitchen scales. They are pretty affordable, and in my opinion this is by far the most important tool in the kitchen when it comes to baking. Following grams instead or volume gives you consistency and will ensure you get the recipe right every time.
- Second to that- find out WHERE your recipe comes from. This recipe is used following Australian standard cups (250ml) and measuring spoons.
- Learn how to fill your measuring cups and spoons correctly. Unless otherwise stated you should always follow the spoon and level method– I will link a video here for you. You would be surprised what a difference this makes to your baking don’t underestimate this bit of info!
Also- you must get to know your oven. All ovens are different, and it is a good idea to buy an oven thermometer to double check the temperature of your oven whilst running. Many times people follow a recipe and blame the blog writer for incorrect baking times however it is IMPOSSIBLE to write a single step that suits ALL ovens. You must discover if your oven runs hot, cold or true and apply this to your baking recipes going forwards.
Well, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please leave a comment or a review if you make these Grain free banana cake muffins- we love to hear from you. If you’re looking for other amazing grain free and vegan recipes, you can try:
- No bake mocha cheesecakes
- Saltana choc chip ‘oatmeal’ cookies
- Paleo chocolate cupcakes
- Healthy grain free granola
These Grain free banana cake muffins are ultimate snacking are for our family, and they contain wholesome ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. They are moist and airy, flavoursome but not too sweet, perfect frosted or served as is.
150g (1 cup) buckwheat flour (*see notes)
120g (1 cup) blanched almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp finely ground salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
70–110g (1/3 – 1/2 cup) brown sugar (* see notes)
250g (1 cup packed, mashed) ripe banana
70g (1/4 cup) runny, hulled tahini
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
250ml (1 cup) boxed coconut milk (or any milk you prefer)
Optional ganache topping
70g 60-70% dark chocolate
40ml (2 Tbsp) soy milk (or preferred milk)
- I highly recommend reading the blog post note for tips on perfecting this recipe, as well as following the gram measurements. If you only have cup measurements I have used an Australian standard cup (250 ml) and followed the spoon and level method.
- Preheat the oven 175 C (350F)- use an oven thermometer if possible to check your oven runs true. Grease or line a 12 hole muffin tray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add the banana. Use a fork to mash completely, then add the tahini, vinegar and milk. Use a hand whisk to whisk together really well. Alternatively you can do this step in a blender, but I prefer to avoid more dishes when I can. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Sift in the dry ingredients. I like to sift in ALL the dry ingredients (except the salt) including the buckwheat flour, almond meal/flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Almond meal can tend to clump together due to its moisture content, so sifting is ideal and will help avoid pockets of almond meal in your baked product. Use a spoon to help push the almond meal through a fine sieve. Add the salt.
- Now, use a large wooden spoon to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. As this recipe contains no gluten you don’t need to stress about over mixing and making them stiff, however the ideal here is to mix only until the wet and dry come together. You don’t want to see any dry patches, though lumps are expected (due to the mashed banana present), so stop mixing as soon as it is uniform. Over mixing the recipe here might result in poor rise (and a denser end result), so do give this step some attention.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin holes, then bake for 34-37 mins. To test readiness first give the top of the muffin a gentle poke. The should feel spongy. Next, you may wish to insert a skewer- there should be no wet batter on the skewer once removed, but a few moist crumbs are expected (and ideal).
- Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the tray before removing and pacing on a wire rack to cool completely.
8. To make the optional ganache first add 2 cm water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Meanwhile, FINELY chop your chocolate (the finer the better) and add to a heatproof bowl along with the milk. Sit the bowl on the top of the saucepan: it should be resting on top of the pot and not touching the water. Reduce heat to low and heat, without stirring, until the chocolate turns glossy and looks almost melted. Alternatively you could use a microwave for this, heating in 15s increments until you achieve the same look. Remove from heat and immediately whisk until thick and glossy. Spoon onto completely cooled cakes and top with crushed walnuts or pecans if you like.
- Not all buckwheat flour is created equal. You want to ideally find a flour that is light in colour and very fine (and soft, not grainy). I fine some brands are more earthy/bitter than others, so I recommend trying a few if you are not happy with your first purchase.
- Brown sugar can be substituted for coconut sugar, with slightly different results. Brown sugar is my preference as it creates a moister muffin wit a little more flavour. Use the smaller amount for a less sweet result, and the higher amount if you have a sweet tooth.
Keywords: Paleo, grain free, vegan, vegan baking, banana cake